Behind Every Gift Is a Story

May is Leave a Legacy month.  Learn more about legacy giving.

Leaving Her Mark on the Future of Kids' Health

One woman who truly knows what goes on behind the doors of Children’s Hospital is Lynda. It was 55 years ago, in 1961, that she was a patient at Children’s Hospital, where she was treated for appendicitis complications for two months. During her long stay, when being in a hospital bed instead of playing outside with her friends got her down, she relied on her imagination and the delights of a ‘children’s’ hospital to brighten her days.

“I remember I was on the top floor; my window looked toward the nurses’ residence. I could see a tree outside and that tree was one of my lifelines. I would look at it changing colour and was determined to walk out the front door on my own two feet,” reminisces Lynda.

When talking about her hospital experience, Lynda focuses on the fun things that helped her get through, such as the kid-inspired environment with colourful curtains, PJs and a book cart full of favourites. With a smile she remembers the snacks and juice in the evening and the cartoons that played on old film projectors.

Although Lynda was in the hospital for many days, she has good memories from her stay. “I loved to look out the window and watch people walk by on the street. Every fall I can visualize that street and I am so grateful to be alive. That makes it so important to give back when I can. More people need to understand how expensive it is to purchase equipment and maintain programs at the hospital,” expresses Lynda.

Lynda recalls, with fondness, her physician’s personal interest in her case and, in addition to her annual support, has decided to honour her caregivers, parents and the life-saving care she received by remembering Children’s Health Foundation in her Will with a legacy gift.

The hospital experience has changed a lot in the last 55 years due to legacy gifts like Lynda’s. Legacy gifts allow Children’s Health Foundation to support crucial programs, like Child and Family Life, which bring smiles to kids and their families, enriching their hospital experience and leaving them with happy memories from otherwise difficult times.

Honouring Children’s Lives through Her Legacy

Donor Joanne DohertyJoanne Doherty or “Jo Jo Bunny”, as all of her nieces and nephews call her, is building a legacy that will honour the lives of our region’s children because, “Each child has a purpose and each life is so special, and deserving of our support,” she explains. Joanne has seen firsthand the importance of supporting Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre. When she nearly lost her newborn niece to respiratory distress, Joanne experienced how this support enables Children’s critical care providers to save and improve kids’ lives every single day.

In her youth, Girl Guides taught Joanne to always be prepared. She has chosen to live this motto while preparing a legacy gift that holds deep meaning to who she is as an aunt, a great aunt, a charity coordinator, and a grateful patient family member.

“I am in control of my wishes, so I can protect my family and benefit those who really mean the most to me.” 

Joanne’s legacy gift – a gift in her will – will support highest priority needs at Children’s Hospital, including specialized paediatric equipment and programs, like Art Therapy, which would not exist without the generous support of Children’s Health Foundation donors. Joanne has a passion for art, and she does not want to imagine a time when children will not have the opportunity to express difficult feelings while trying to cope with chronic, life-threatening illnesses. Joanne’s legacy will help to protect this creative outlet and provide comfort to some of the patients who visit Children’s Hospital 106,000 times each year.

Children’s Health Foundation offers its heartfelt thanks to donors, like Joanne Doherty, whose legacies will live on in the hearts of our children as they continue to play, laugh and grow.

Rhonda King: Inspired by art and children

In the 1950s, when Rhonda King was a 5 year old in hospital with rheumatic fever she was frightened, had few visitors and nothing to do but look out the window. “Every detail of that room – the pea green walls, metal night stands, terrazzo floors and the metal lockers at the end of my bed – is as fresh in my memory today as it was all those years ago,” says Rhonda. Many times during her stay, Rhonda longed for someone to give her crayons and drawing paper to help pass the time, but there was nothing to do but think.

Rhonda spent six long weeks at War Memorial Children’s Hospital in London before she was able to go home. She recovered nicely and eventually began a 32 year career as a teacher. As Rhonda started working as an educator, art became her magic wand to reach young students. She saw how art could help children create, and learn, and go to wonderful places in their minds. Because of the memories of her hospital stay, and the importance she places on art as a tool to help children, Rhonda chose to leave a legacy gift to Children’s Health Foundation. She wanted to ensure that there would always be an art therapy program at Children's Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre.

“It is my hope that this legacy I have created will reduce kids’ fears and allow them to have fun and be creative even though they are in hospital,” says Rhonda.

The effects of cancer, and other serious illnesses, go far beyond physical health. Rhonda’s gift to the art therapy program will help children and their families cope. When words don’t come easily, art can be a powerful tool for communication, and a source of comfort and healing.

 

Janet Christensen: Inspired by exceptional care

Janet Christensen is a long-time Children’s Health Foundation donor and volunteer. As a grandmother to eleven, she has witnessed the fabulous care provided at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre on more than one occasion, including premature twins (pictured at right) and two separate incidents of sports related injuries requiring orthopedic surgery.

She cares so deeply about the work at Children’s, that she made the decision to include Children’s in her Will and become a Legacy Partner in Hope.

“I am in awe of the brave children and their families at Children’s Hospital and Thames Valley Children’s Centre,” says Janet.

“I am grateful for the dedicated and caring health professionals who provide their care and the incredible team at Children’s Health Research Institute who tirelessly look for new treatments and cures.”

 

Frances' Legacy: A lifetime of generosity

Frances LindenfieldFrances Lindenfield was an early advocate for many causes including nature, music, children’s rights, education and health.

Frances grew up in Parkhill in the 1920’s and as a young woman set out on her own to Toronto, where she made a career as a medical secretary and church organist.

Throughout her life she was generous in her support of others, in particular children. She lived a modest life with sensible practicality, thoughtfulness and hard work. It was in this spirit of practical help and generosity that she made a wonderful gift to help Children’s Hospital with a bequest in her Will.

Children’s is grateful to Frances for leaving a wonderful Legacy of Hope that will help many children lead healthier, happier lives. Learn more about Legacy Giving.

For more information, or to share your legacy story, please contact:

Vicki Hayter, philanthropy associate at 519.432.8564 extension 75291 or vhayter@childhealth.ca.

We strongly encourage you to seek professional legal, estate planning and/or financial advice when making decisions about your legacy gift to Children’s Health Foundation.